Patsy Walker, and its companion comic, Patsy and Hedy, were Marvel Comics's (initially, Timely's) major entry in the teen girls' comic genre. The character of Patsy is among Marvel's oldest, first appearing in 1944 in "Miss America" issue 2. Patsy Walker #95 was one of the first two comic book issues to carry the Marvel escrutcheon.
Patsy Walker focused mainly on the spirited red-headed heroine's issues with her more straight-laced parents, her boyfriend "Buzz", and especially her rivalry with her raven-haired nemesis/vitriolic best bud, Hedy Wolfe. In fact, Patsy and Hedy seem to have spent a lot of time getting in each other's faces, messing around with each other's lives with minimal motivation, and swapping wordy put-downs and insults while staring each other down in an oddly obsessive fashion, sometimes culminating in gentle displays of affection. This has made some readers wonder a little about the subtext in their relationship... but on the basis of his body of work, this just seems to be a common character dynamic in Stan Lee's writing. (And for the record: yes, Stan Lee did write for this comic.)
The books were never gigantic sellers for Timely/Atlas/Marvel, but made themselves a quiet and profitable market niche in the character's 23-year first incarnation, especially in the 1950s after Al Hartley took over as the major artist. By the mid-1960s, the title's aesthetic had dated and Marvel's attention had long since moved from girls' humor comics, resulting in Patsy and Hedy growing up a little and becoming dashing young reporters, touring the world while frustrating the plans of various villainous pretty boys. The writing standards by this point were not up to the concept, the concept itself was not incredibly original even in 1967, and in that year the Patsy Walker-based titles were quietly discontinued.
In 1976, Patsy Walker was retooled into the superheroine Hellcat. She used the special costume abandoned by another heroine, The Cat, who now had powers of her own as a Cat Girl named Tigra. Meanwhile, "Buzz", having been married to and then divorced by her, became the amoral superpowered mercenary Mad Dog. Hedy remains in Marvel canon as Patsy's mundane business partner. The original teen-comedy comics also remain canonical... as in-universe fiction written by Patsy's mother. Meanwhile, during a stint with The Defenders, Patsy married teammate Daimon Hellstrom — the Son of Satan! For tropes of this version of the character, see that page.
In 2015, Trish Walker made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as a primary character in Jessica Jones (2015), played by Rachael Taylor. This version of Trish is a syndicated radio talk show host, as well as a former model and child TV star who also serves as Jessica Jones' best friend. She also started headlining her first ongoing series, Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!, written by Kate Leth.
Provides Examples Of:
- Betty and Veronica: Full-on Alternate Company Equivalents in Patsy and Hedy, with Buzz as Archie.
- Catchphrase: "Cheese and crackers!" A proto-"Sweet Christmas!" that even continued in Patsy's later career.
- Costume Porn: Each issue would let you know who designed each girl's outfit for the issue.
- Fiery Redhead: Patsy, though Hedy's at least equally fiery.
- Genre Shift: Played with in issue 7 of the '80s comedy series What The—?!, by having Patsy constantly flip between her Golden Age teen life and her Bronze Age superhero antics.
- The Golden Age of Comic Books: and survived into the Silver Age before the characters got retooled in the Bronze.
- Love Triangle: Hedy's supposed to be trying to steal Buzz away from Patsy. Although in practice she seems less interested in Buzz than she is at upstaging Patsy.
- Pretty in Mink: One issue showed Patsy being excited to get her first fur.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Borderline, but in general Patsy gets the girly outfits, Hedy the assertive outfits. In behavior, they're both about as girly (or not) as each other. And Patsy's bedroom contains a baseball schedule taped to her dressing mirror and her lack of domestic skills is a running gag.
- A True Story in My Universe: Well, about as true as Winnie-the-Pooh is a true biography of Christopher Milne, but still...
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Patsy and Hedy.